Friday, September 7, 2018


Leaving the proverbial nest and into his own college apartment may have been disorienting for our young adult son, but it was a dream for a mom who delights in the challenge of simple home design on a budget. 

The mind-set of today is an awakening for me, of the times we’re in and how much I’ve aged. It’s not that I was averse to decorating my first apartment, still, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to buy curtains or a coffee maker, much less a 75” TV. I was living on a student’s budget, as they say.

Or used to say. Witnessing the shopping frenzy at the big-box stores, college freshmen checking off items from a list they’d obtained from Pinterest, I wondered if the phrase still applies. 
With hundreds of television shows focused on design and websites like Pinterest, we’re all savvier about decorating and desire to live in well-designed spaces. That may be true, but doing it on a budget is still my narrative.
Between Craigslist, thrifting at second-hand stores, and my beloved Target sales, we furnished our son’s college apartment for less than $850. Reusing and recycling is significant, but it’s also important to judge furniture and supplies for its durability. Even the most careful of person will find it difficult to keep their college possessions in good shape as they move in and out of dorm rooms and college apartments for the next four years. Hardy furniture can be expensive when purchased new, so consider a gently used piece, even if it needs some minor sprucing up. A small can of paint can totally transform a lackluster table into an incredible conversation piece.
And lately, it’s not unusual to see fancy college dorm (or apartment) room photos. In fact, some designers even specialize in the trend.
Below are a few images from my minimalist design application, with respect to my son’s personality style, using muted colors, adding interest with texture and a bit of mixed patterns. A fluffy faux fur rug covers tan linoleum tiles in the bathroom, and a fern freshens up the rather bland kitchen – just to name a few.

Sure, at this point in his life, his needs are simple: a sofa to play video games from, a mattress on the floor to sleep on and odor eliminator spray to mask the strange smells of his well-used furniture. But I really wanted to do something that’s warm and cozy, something that gives a sense of home.

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